Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ivory Tower

I stare at my screen and it stares back at me.

‘I’m stronger than you,’ I say. ‘And smarter.’

It doesn’t answer back, but its insolent stance speaks volumes.

‘Don’t you dare pollute me with your stupid words. Don’t mark me with the ink of your stories.’

I’m a woman on a mission and I ignore it. As soon as I start writing I’ll be saved.

That’s how everything begins. One black letter followed by another one. A word. A whole line. A paragraph. 

I never plan. I’m a write-as-you-go kind of person. I capture an idea and start pulling. The thread unfolds and the characters speak. And then, I’m nobody because they have a life of their own and I just watch them from a distance. I might be, at most, the hidden puppet master. I just hold the strings, though. I don’t decide where they go or what they do.

Writing is as necessary to me as eating or drinking. I give my characters life, but they give me so much more. 

Being able to create other lives and other universes is a superpower. It’s like being able to model gold or paint stars. It’s like flying to the moon.

However, being a writer can be painful too. The creative mind is a prison at times. There’s writer’s block and there’s 
the danger of becoming a prisoner of one’s imagination.  As Agatha Christie said, ‘Imagination is a good servant and a bad master.’

When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about what to write. At other times, I read and then I fill the rest of my time with life.

There are two types of writers. Those who live in the world and those who live in their own heads.

The first type interact with their fellow men and watch them act. They notice everything they see and use it in their books. They wear T-shirts that say ‘Be nice to me, I’m a writer.’

The others are absent-minded dreamers that live in ivory towers and rely on their fantasies as sources for their creations. I belong to this second group.

My screen is teasing me again. I’ve just reread my words and I’ve seen it laughing at me.

‘Stop trying to make yourself sound important. You’re just an average busybody. You’ve never been good at philosophy. Will you just drop the act?’

I guess I’ll listen to it because it’s time for bed. But I’ll be back tomorrow. Another story is waiting. Another adventure. I have new characters to meet. New places to visit.

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